Two weeks ago, our annual TFFT Vision Trip in Tanzania came to a close. This year’s Vision Trip consisted of both long-time supporters and people who are entirely new to TFFT. Our organization is surrounded by the love and support of people from all over the world who have been influenced by TFFT in unique ways over the past 13 years. The Vision Trip is one of the many ways that people come to know and love TFFT. This annual adventure allows individuals to learn more about the ways in which TFFT accomplishes our mission and works towards our vision day in and day out in Arusha, Tanzania, and provides a greater insight into what we do, as well as a fantastic way to learn more about our work up close.
TFFT Vision Trips are a chance to experience our work and Tanzania in a unique and immersive way. The Vision Trips are packed full of informative activities that provide our guests with a rich understanding about TFFT and our comprehensive programs.
From September 13-21st, we showed Vision Trip participants TFFT’s world. Guests had the opportunity to witness five of our scholars graduate from lower school at Arusha Modern School. For these scholars, this graduation ceremony represents the promise to continue to learn in secondary school, an opportunity that not many Tanzanian students receive. Two of our guests this year, Beth and Susan, have known many of the graduates since they were young children in Nkoaranga Orphanage. In order to learn more about our scholars’ educational experiences, guests visited and were given tours of Shepherds Secondary School and Precious English Medium School by TFFT scholars. To learn more about the lives of our scholars and their parents and guardians, we visited Nelson’s home and met his family. Vision Trip participants visited the tailoring workshop of Agnes, one of our alumni, who pursued vocational education and now runs a successful business! Her story demonstrates that success looks different for all TFFT scholars. Our participants were excited to visit Shanga, a social enterprise in Arusha that employs Tanzanians with disabilities to make unique, high-quality, handmade jewelry, glassware and home items from recycled materials. This interactive workshop is an uplifting and empowering local community project. Guests learned more about the partnership program between TFFT and The Lunch Project, a feeding program that encourages school attendance among students. Our guests visited with TFFT alumni, Nicemary, Ombeni, and Eliupendo, to discuss their plans for the future. The Vision Trip participants visited the site of the future Learning Centre and had the chance to spend time with all of our staff to gain greater insight into how we pursue our vision to transform the educational landscape in Tanzania.
These highlights are just some of the many activities included in the Vision Trip. They capture the itinerary of the Vision Trip, but we’ve gathered some input from our guests about their individual experiences! This week, we would like to share sentiments from supporters who have participated in TFFT’s Vision Trip throughout the years. Their input provides insight into what one gains from a TFFT Vision Trip and the lasting impact of this experience.
Laura Thompson 2015
“The Vision Trip, for me, was a fantastic way to see, hear, and feel The Foundation For Tomorrow’s work first-hand. Having the opportunity to spend time with TFFT’s fiercely committed Tanzanian staff, celebrate the graduation of TFFT scholars, check in with micro-loan recipients, and sit in a classroom with TFFT trained teachers, was an eye-opening and inspiring experience. Being in Tanzania, in Arusha, in the schools and classrooms, brought TFFT’s work into focus for me, and helped me to understand the importance and impact of TFFT’s work.”
Jennifer Combs 2015
“My experience as a whole was wonderful. We spent our days together exploring what is most important to TFFT: our people. We went as a group and spent the evenings as a group covering the events of the day. The evening were definitely a bonding time. We learned about new employees and the tasks assigned to them. We met with our partners, new and old. Getting to spend time first hand is beyond impactful.”
Beth Watson 2015 and 2019
“I had an amazing time on the Vision Trip last time! I wanted to go back right away but decided to wait so I could attend the girls’ graduation. I’ve known Nisima and Asimwe [The scholars that Beth sponsors] since they were babies because I worked at their orphanage. When I left TZ I knew I wanted to sponsor them when they aged out of the orphanage, but wasn’t sure how. Thankfully someone connected me with Meghann right as TFFT was being formed and she was able to help me! It has been SO amazing all these years seeing how TFFT has grown and all the incredible work the team does there. Knowing the girls are in such great hands is such a huge relief. The Vision Trip was really important to me because it allowed me the opportunity to really spend time in Tanzania, to get to know TFFT’s local team, and to talk with the people who are actually doing the work each day. And I also learned so much about the other programs TFFT is doing aside from sponsorship. I was completely blown away by how much their doing and the quality and care given to every project.
The Vision Trip was really eye opening and I learned a lot about how TFFT works to lift up the entire community rather than just focusing on the child. The thought and strategy that’s gone into their programs is so impressive. It’s not just about providing an education for kids. It’s also about ensuring that the teachers and schools are of a certain standard, supporting and providing opportunity for the families, and offering educational resources for the entire community. TFFT’s work is so impactful- I was really blown away.”
Melissa Davis 2019
“I learned so much on the TFFT Vision Trip and it is hard to put it all in writing. I learned a lot about Tanzania and the people of Tanzania. I loved hearing about TFFT and how it operates. It was interesting to see and hear about different parts of the organization and to be able to visit the scholars in different settings. The trip was impactful because I got to see my best childhood friend (Susan Bianucci, TFFT supporter) in the place she loves the most. I was inspired by the trip to get involved with both TFFT and in Tanzania. After the Vision Trip, TFFT is important to me because it is important to people I love and because the work TFFT does makes a difference in people’s lives. When I was a foster parent, my husband and I felt stuck to be able to make changes in the world, with so many problems. We decided that by doing foster care we could change the world one child at a time. I believe this is similar to how TFFT thinks.”
Sean Redington 2019
“I learned so much about the foundation and what they do, my aunt Denise has talked about the foundation and the children for as long as I can remember. Seeing the impact that this foundation has on these children’s lives has taught me how important an education really is. The trip was impactful for me because it reminded me that there is a whole other world out there with people living their lives and it reminded me that I could do something to help them. What resonates with me is the faces of all of the children and how thankful they were to the people at TFFT. I knew I was not an official part of the foundation and that I was there as a member of the Vision Trip, however seeing the children come up to me and thank me for helping them will forever be in my memory. I hope that one day after I graduate with a Bachelors in Human Development and Family Science that I can apply my knowledge to help the foundation. My major deals with creating programs to educate people and that is exactly what the Teacher Training Program does for the teachers in Tanzania.”
Susan Bianucci 2019
“This was my first Vision Trip but will definitely not be my last! I’ve been involved with TFFT for nearly twelve years and could not be prouder of TFFT. I am most proud of the fact that TFFT has honored and surpassed their promises to the teachers and scholars of Tanzania. Being on the trip with the US and TZ team and with old and new friends has renewed my energy and commitment to TFFT. As we stood at the site of the new Learning Center, we sent blessings and thanks for the beautiful land that will hold this space and the hope it will bring to the community. As we stood there silently in wonder, a beautiful eagle soared over head. I took that as a sign of majestic and awe inspiring things to come.”
The Vision Trip offers a glimpse into our world and TFFT is thrilled to welcome new change makers into our TFFT family! It’s never too early to start planning. Does this experience sound like a great way for you to learn more about TFFT? Let us know if you’re interested in participating in 2020!